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Archive for the 'Explore Japan' Category

Japanese Travel Phrases for an Enjoyable Trip to Japan

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Are you traveling to Japan and want to learn practical Japanese travel phrases? This article is designed to help you learn the most useful Japanese words for travel.

It’s always good to learn basic words when you travel to a foreign country. Not only does it make getting around easier, but it also allows you to enjoy communicating with the locals.

In general, Japanese people are not so good at speaking English, free wifi services aren’t very prevalent (especially outside of the central cities), and Japan is still more of a cash-based society than you may think. However, Japanese people are very kind; they’ll listen to you patiently and do their best to help. So just use these basic Japanese travel phrases to talk to Japanese people when you want to ask something.

When you speak even a little bit of Japanese, locals will appreciate your effort and will be more friendly. Here’s JapanesePod101’s list of practical Japanese travel phrases for your travels to Japan!

Table of Contents

  1. Greeting/Communication
  2. Asking for Directions
  3. Shopping
  4. Restaurants
  5. When You Need Help
  6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. Greeting/Communication

Airplane Phrases

To begin our list of essential Japanese travel phrases, we’ll go over greetings and basic travel phrases in Japanese for solid communication. These simple Japanese travel phrases can make a world of difference in your conversations and overall experience in Japan.

1- こんにちは

  • Romanization: Kon’nichiwa
  • English Translation: Hello

In terms of must-know Japanese travel phrases, you probably already know that this is the most common Japanese greeting word. You can say this to anybody for any occasion during the daytime.

2- はい/いいえ

  • Romanization: Hai / Iie
  • English Translation: Yes / No

Hai is “Yes” and it’s pronounced like the English word “Hi.” In Japan, saying yes also means that you understand. Iie is “No” and it’s pronounced ‘EE-eh.’

3- ありがとうございます

  • Romanization: Arigatō gozaimasu
  • English Translation: Thank you

Arigatō gozaimasu is the polite way to say “Thank you” in Japanese, and you can use this for any occasion. In case of a casual situation, you can just say Arigatō, or even more casually, Dōmo (どうも) which means “Thanks.”

4- いいえ、いりません

  • Romanization: Iie, irimasen
  • English Translation: No, thank you.

It literally means “No, I don’t need it,” in Japanese. At a restaurant, say this phrase when a waiter offers to fill your glass of water and you don’t want more.

5- すみません

  • Romanization: Sumimasen
  • English Translation: I’m sorry / Excuse me

This word is usually used to say “sorry'’ or “excuse me”. Say this when you bump into someone in a crowd or when you ask someone for directions. Japanese people also use this to mean “thank you,” in some cases, such as when someone picks up something you dropped.

6- お願いします

  • Romanization: Onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: Please

When you request something, it’s polite to say Onegai shimasu. When someone offers you something and says please, she/he would say Dōzo (どうぞ) in Japanese.

7- 私はXXです

  • Romanization: Watashi wa XX desu.
  • English Translation: I am XX.

Watashi is “I,” wa is “am/is/are,” and desu is a present-tense word that links subjects and predicates; it’s placed at the end of a sentence. You can put your name, or your nationality, such as: Watashi wa Amerika-jin desu (私はアメリカ人です) which means “I am American.”  

Many Different Flags

8- 私は日本語がわかりません

  • Romanization: Watashi wa nihongo ga wakarimasen.
  • English Translation: I don’t understand Japanese.

Nihongo is stands for the Japanese language, and Wakarimasen means “I don’t understand.” If you don’t know something, you can just say Wakarimasen meaning “I don’t know.”

9- 英語を話せますか

  • Romanization: Eigo o hanasemasu ka
  • English Translation: Can you speak English?

This is one of the most useful Japanese phrases for travelers. Eigo means “English,” Hanasemasu is a polite way to say “I speak,” and ka is a word that you add to the end of a complete sentence to make a question.

10- 英語でお願いします

  • Romanization: Eigo de onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: English, please.

This is another important Japanese travel phrase. De is the particle, and in this case it means “by” or “by means of.” The phrase literally translates as “English by please.” You can also say M saizu de onegai shimasu (Mサイズでお願いします) which means “Medium size, please.”


2. Asking for Directions

Preparing to Travel

One of the most important Japanese travel phrases you should know are directions. Here are some useful vocabulary words and two Japanese language travel phrases you need to know!

1- Vocabulary

  • 駅 (Eki) : Station
  • 地下鉄 (Chikatetsu) : Subway/Metro
  • トイレ (Toire) : Toilet
  • 銀行 (Ginkō) : Bank
  • 切符売り場 (Kippu uriba) : Ticket machine/Office
  • 観光案内所 (Kankō annaijo) : Tourist information office
  • 入口 (Iriguchi) : Entrance
  • 出口 (Deguchi) : Exit
  • 右 (Migi) : Right
  • 左 (Hidari) : Left
  • まっすぐ (Massugu) : Straight
  • 曲がる (Magaru) : Turn
  • 交差点 (Kōsaten) : Intersection
  • 角 (Kado) : Corner

2- XXはどこですか

  • Romanization: XX wa doko desu ka
  • English Translation: Where is XX?

Doko means “where” and you replace XX with the name of where you want to go.

For example

  • Toire wa doko desu ka (Where is the toilet?)
  • Deguchi wa doko desu ka (Where is an exit?)

3- XX e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (XXへはどう行けばいいですか) : How can I go to XX?

  • Romanization: XX e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka
  • English Translation: How can I go to XX?

is “how,” e is “to,” and ikeba ii can be translated as “good to go.” When you want to know how you can get somewhere, replace XX with where you want to go.

For example:

  • Eki e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (How can I go to the station?)
  • Ginkō e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (How can I go to the bank?)

4- Other Examples

1. この道をまっすぐ行きます (Kono michi o massugu ikimasu.):Go straight on this street.

Kono michi is “this street” and ikimasu is the polite way to say “Go.” O is a Japanese postpositional particle which indicates an object (in this case, kono michi).

2. 次の角を右へ曲がります (Tsugi no kado o migi e magarimasu.):Turn right at the next corner.

Tsugi no kado means “next corner” and magarimasu is the polite way to say “Turn.” E is another postpositional particle that indicates direction; this can be translated as the English word “to.”

3. 交差点を渡って左へ行きます (Kōsaten o watatte hidari e ikimasu.):Cross an intersection and go to the left (direction).

Watatte is a conjugated form of wataru which means “cross.”


3. Shopping

Basic Questions

You’ll definitely love shopping when traveling in Japan, and some of the best Japanese phrases for travel are those related to this fun past-time. Knowing some useful Japanese words will make your shopping even more enjoyable.

1- XXはありますか

  • Romanization: XX wa arimasu ka
  • English Translation: Do you have XX?

When you’re at a store and looking for something, you can use this phrase by replacing XX with what you want.

2- いくらですか

  • Romanization: Ikura desu ka
  • English Translation: How much is it?

This is probably one of the most useful Japanese words for traveling and shopping. You can say Ikura desu ka in many situations, such as when you’re shopping, buying tickets, paying for a taxi, etc.

3- 免税できますか

  • Romanization: Menzei dekimasu ka
  • English Translation: Can you do a tax exemption?

Did you know that, as a traveler, you can get a sales tax exemption when you purchase things greater than 5,000 yen? Menzei is “tax exempted” and dekimasu means “can do.” Don’t forget to say this when you buy something big!

4- これは何ですか

  • Romanization: Kore wa nan desu ka
  • English Translation: What is this?

Kore is “this” and nan is another form of nani which means “what.” There are many unique foods, gadgets, and things which are unique to Japan, so when you wonder what it is, point to it and say this phrase.

5- これを買います

  • Romanization: Kore o kaimasu
  • English Translation: I’ll buy this.

Kaimasu is the conjugation of the verb kau, which means “buy.”

6- カードは使えますか

  • Romanization: Kādo wa tsukaemasu ka
  • English Translation: Can I use a credit card?

Kādo is “card” and you pronounce it just like the English word “card.” Tsukaemasu is a conjugation of the potential form of the verb tsukau which means “use.” This phrase is useful when you want to use your card at small shops and restaurants.

Man and Woman Shopping


4. Restaurants

Japan has an array of delicious foods, of which sushi and ramen are just the tip of the iceberg. Amazingly, Tokyo is the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, for several consecutive years. Enjoy yummy food at restaurants with useful Japanese words for restaurants and easy Japanese travel phrases related to food.

1- Vocabulary

  • 英語のメニュー (Eigo no menyū) : English menu
  • ベジタリアンのメニュー (Bejitarian no menyū) : Vegetarian menu
  • 豚肉を含まないメニュー (Butaniku o fukumanai menyū) : Menu without pork
  • 水 (Mizu) : Water
  • 白/赤ワイン (Shiro / Aka wain) : White / Red wine

2- XXはありますか

  • Romanization: XX wa arimasu ka
  • English Translation: Do you have XX?

When you want to ask if the restaurant has something you want, say this phrase (replacing XX with what you want).

For example:

  • Eigo no menyū wa arimasu ka (Do you have an English menu?)
  • Aka wain wa arimasu ka (Do you have red wine?)

3- XXをください

  • Romanization: XX o kudasai
  • English Translation: Can I have XX?

This is another very useful phrase. Simply replace XX with what you want. You can also use this versatile phrase in various occasions, such as when shopping, choosing something, etc.

For example:

  • Kore o kudasai (Can I have this?)
  • Mizu o kudasai (Can I have water?)

4- お会計お願いします

  • Romanization: O-kaikei onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: Check, please.

O-kaikei means “check.” In Japan, people often cross their index fingers in front of their face as a gesture to indicate “check, please” at casual restaurants. However, when you’re at a nice restaurant, simply tell a waiter: O-kaikei onegai shimasu.


5. When You Need Help

Survival Phrases

Sometimes you get faced with unexpected emergencies while you’re traveling. Japan is famous for being one of the safest countries in the world, but you might fall very ill or be caught in a great earthquake.

1- Vocabularies

  • 警察 (Keisatsu) : Police
  • 病院 (Byōin) : Hospital
  • 救急車 (Kyūkyūsha) : Ambulance
  • ドラッグストア/薬局 (Doraggu sutoa / Yakkyoku) : Drug Store/Pharmacy
  • タクシー (Takushī) : Taxi

2- XXを呼んでください

  • Romanization: XX o yonde kudasai
  • English Translation: Can you call XX?

When you’re severely ill or in case of emergency, let people know by using this phrase. Japanese people will kindly help you.

For example:

  • Yūkyūsha o yonde kudasai (Can you call an ambulance?)
  • Keisatsu o yonde kudasai (Can you call the police?)

3- どこでインターネットを使えますか

  • Romanization: Doko de intānetto o tsukaemasu ka
  • English Translation: Where can I use the internet?

Although large cities in Japan provide free public wifi at major stations, metros, and cafes, you may need to find internet access in smaller cities. Remember that there will be kind Japanese people who will share their personal hotspots, or look things up for you with their own phones, as well.

4- 電話を貸してください

  • Romanization: Denwa o kashite kudasai
  • English Translation: Can I use your phone?

Denwa is “phone” and kashite is a conjugation word of kasu, which means “lend.” This phrase is literally translated as “Please lend (me) a phone.”

5- 助けてください

  • Romanization: Tasukete kudasai
  • English Translation: Please help me.

I believe this phrase is the last thing you would ever use in Japan, but in case something does happen, this is useful survival Japanese for tourists.

Japanese Landmark


6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article of Japanese travel phrases is helpful and that you’ll enjoy your trip to Japan!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have YouTube channel: JapanesePod101. It’s fun to learn Japanese through watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation, so we recommend you check it out!

Don’t forget to study with our free Japanese vocabulary lists, read more insightful blog posts like this one, and download our mobile apps to learn anywhere, anytime! Whatever your reason for learning Japanese, know that we’re here to help and you can do it! Keep in mind that the best way to learn Japanese phrases for travel is repetition and practice.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about using these useful travel phrases in Japanese after reading this article. More confident, or still a little confused about something? Feel free to ask questions in the comments!

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The 5 Best Cities to Visit in Japan & Things to Do

Japan is a lovely place, decorated with frills of excitement and laced with serenity. But we’ll admit that some destinations in this unique country that you may enjoy visiting more than others. So in this article, JapanesePod101.com will introduce you to the top five destinations in Japan along with fun things to do in each. Your visit or move to Japan will be all the better for it!

1. Kyoto

Bicycle in Front of Shop

The former imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto lays claim to the “Cultural Capital of Japan.” In addition to being Japan’s biggest tourist destination and cultural center, attracting more than ten-million visitors every year, it’s preserved much of the atmosphere of the past.

There are so many things Kyoto has to offer and several places to go. Let’s take a look.

Temple

Things to Do

Byodoin Temple:
The Byodoin Temple is a characteristic example of the temple architecture of the Heian period. The site was originally occupied by a country residence which belonged to Minamoto Toru, Fujiwara-no-Michinaga, and Yorimichi. Its most well-known feature is the Phoenix Hall, of which guided tours are offered for the cost of 300 yen (approximately $2.75 USD).

Daikaku-ji Temple:
Established in 876 as a temple, it’s located adjacent to the Osawa pond. In the 1600s, Emperor Saga’s imperial detached villa, Saga Palace, was taken apart and reassembled here. The beauty of this temple is further emphasized through its place in Japanese history, including the peace conferences that took place here, ending a civil war between the imperial courts of the North and South during the 12th century.

Daitoku-ji Temple:
This is one of the principal temples of the Rinzai sect. The temple, founded in 1324, was destroyed during the Civil Wars of the 15th century; the present structures date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Of the total of 22 buildings, seven are open to the public. Of particular interest are the Zen gardens (dry gardens in kare sansui style).

Fushimi-Inari Shrine:
The Fushimi-Inari Shrine is much frequented by merchants and tradesmen who pray for prosperity. One of the greatest shrines in Japan, founded in 711, is dedicated to the goddess of rice-growing, Ukanomitama-no-mikoto.

Ginkakuji (or Silver Pavilion) Temple:
This temple lies in the northeast part of the city. In contrast to the Kinkakuji (or Golden Pavilion) Temple, this was never decorated with a covering of silver. It was built in 1482 by the eighth Ashikaga Shogun as a country residence. On his death, it was converted into a Zen temple. It stands by a pool in which the two-story building is reflected. In its upper story it houses a gilded statue of Kannon. Behind it is the main hall with an important statue of Buddha. There is a tearoom adjacent.

Katsura Rikyu Imperial Villa:
This was originally constructed for Prince Hachijo Toshihito (1579-1629), brother of the Emperor Goyozei. Much of it was built by 1624, and it was completed by 1658. The garden is so designed that the visitor always sees things from the front. Around the pool are grouped a number of small gardens, and in the distance the summits of Mounts Arashiyama and Kameyama can be seen. The three parts of the building, offset from one another, have influenced modern architecture in Japan and even in other countries. The main buildings were thoroughly restored between 1974 and 1981.

Kiyomizu Temple:
Like the Chion-in Temple, this Temple is in the eastern part of the city, situated on a hill up which runs a road known as “Teapot Lane” (good porcelain). The Temple was founded in 790 and is dedicated to the eleven-headed Kannon. (The statue of her is a protected monument.) The present buildings were erected after 1633 in the period of the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu. They stand mainly on a rocky outcrop above the Otowa Waterfall.

Koryuji Temple or Uzumasa-dera:
This was founded by Hata Kawakatsu in 622, but the present buildings are later. The Lecture Hall, the second oldest building (1165) in Kyoto, contains three old statues: in the center a seated figure of Buddha, flanked by figures of the Thousand-Handed Kannon and Fukukenjaku-Kannon. In the rear hall (Taishi-do, 1720) is a wooden statue of Shotoku-taishi, probably a self-portrait (606).

Nijo Castle:
This has belonged to the city of Kyoto since 1939. The castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603. For a time during the Meiji Era it was the seat of government, and it was from here that the Emperor issued the rescript abolishing the Shogunate. From 1871 to 1884 it was occupied by the prefectural administration, and during this period many of the works of art contained were badly damaged.

Nishi-Honganji Temple:
This is the chief temple of the original Jodo-shinsu sect and an outstanding example of Buddhist architecture. Only part of this temple is freely open to the public; to see the other parts, an application must be filled out in advance to the temple offices. (So if you want to visit here, you may want to get started on this right away!)

Sanjusangen-do Temple:
The “Temple of the 33 Niches” takes its name from the way it’s built. Its façade is divided into 33 (sanjusan) niches (gen), to reflect the belief that Kannon, the goddess of compassion, could take on 33 different personifications. The Temple was originally built in 1164. The present building was put up in 1266, after a fire. In days gone by, archery competitions used to be held in the Temple grounds, as is still shown clearly by the holes in the pillars and timbers.

2. Tokyo

In addition to its title of Capital of the Land of the Rising Sun, Tokyo is also the political and financial center of Japan! There’s no shortage of things to do. It could take a lifetime to explore this fascinating city, which manages to tastefully mix historic sights with state-of-the-art architecture and technology.

Things to Do

Akasaka:
Akasaka has so much to offer a prospective visitor, most notably an excellent combination of great restaurants. It also offers nightlife for the more mature crowd, which is located near the nearby banking and governmental districts (where we broadcast from!).

Ameyoko:
Ameyoko is a market with tons of cheap shops and great food! We recommend taking some time to wander this marvelous shopping street, whether to pick up some fun Japanese souvenirs (think trinkets and cute clothes!) or hunt down a tasty snack. A little birdy (the market’s website) told us there’s chocolate to be found here!

Asakusa-Kannon:
This is a Temple surrounded by an interesting shopping district, and is the most popular of several temples in the area. When visiting this temple, you’ll first pass through the Thunder Gate (or in Japanese, Kaminarimon). This serves as the temple’s main entrance as well as the beginning of a stretch of shops. Here you can buy several Japanese souvenirs, from traditional clothing to food.
Once you pass through the second gate, Hozomon, you can make your way into the actual temple which composes largely of reconstructions. If you plan on visiting in May, you’re in for a treat—that’s when this temple hosts its annual festival!

Ginza:
This is a place for shopping and entertainment galore, with department stores, upscale shops selling brand-name goods, and movie theaters. If you long to spend your time in Japan shopping, visit here, especially if you have some extra spending money and want to have a taste of the finer things in Japan. Even if you’re not interested in shopping, there are so many ways you can enjoy a visit here: people-watching, admiring the lavish scenery, and ultimately gaining knowledge about Japanese culture.

Harajuku:
This is the fashion capital of Japan (and perhaps the world). This hip and trendy location stands alongside Shibuya and Omotesando as being one of the areas in Tokyo where cutting-edge fashions seem to converge. Harajuku’s streets are lined with shops of international brands and famous clothing designers from all over Japan and around the world. Among these, the fashion building Laforet Harajuku stands as a symbol of the area, packed full of what is “now” in Tokyo fashion.

On the streets, companies like Malkomalka are represented by a group of youngsters called “Harajuku kids.” Most adults are flabbergasted by these kids “walking down the street in their gaudy clothing,” but the “Harajuku kids” are not just playing around with exterior decoration. An increasing number of fashions allow us to read the designers true intentions from behind the scenes.

Some even say that one can get a better sense of what modern day Japan is all about by ignoring politics altogether and looking at Harajuku’s youth.

Kabuki-cho:
Located in East Shinjuku, Kabuki-cho is notorious for its many bars and nightclubs. We recommend visiting if you’re traveling alone or with a group of friends, but taking the whole family (especially with young kids) is probably not a good idea.

That said, there’s all sorts of fun to be had here, depending on your taste (and your budget!). A walk down “Piss Alley,” a simple visit to the Samurai Museum, a couple drinks at the zombie-infested Lockup bar, and even a giant Godzilla figure atop a hotel await your arrival in Kabuki-cho. (Oh yeah, Godzilla even growls and lights up from time to time!)

O-daiba:
O-daiba is a large, reclaimed, waterfront area that has become one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping and entertainment districts. Maybe its most defining feature is the man-made beach and complementary boardwalk-themed shopping area, though it features several fascinating stores and shops throughout. This is a great place to enjoy relaxing scenery, find a couple of cool souvenirs, and indulge in hours of lighthearted fun as you roam the shopping centers.

Lovely View of Brightly Lit Street

Roppongi:
Roppongi is a district of Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan, chiefly known for its nightlife and the presence of Western tourists and expatriates. There’s a little something for everyone here, considering its expanse of great dining options, three art museums referred to as the Roppongi Art Triangle, and even a Snoopy museum (yes, the cute little cartoon dog from Peanuts). And, as with most destinations in Tokyo, you can expect to spend some good money here at its multiple shops.

Shinjuku:
Shinjuku is Tokyo’s capital where the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is located. Skyscrapers, major department stores, camera and computer stores, and hotels can be found in this area. You’ll have to spend a little to enjoy most attractions here, but we think it’s well worth it. You’re likely to notice right away how crowded the railway station is—over 3.5-million people pass through it each day!

Shitamachi:
Shitamachi, often called “Old Tokyo,” is a great place to visit in Japan, especially during summer as this is the opportunity to see its three spectacular festivals. But perhaps the first thing you’ll want to do upon arriving and settling in is visit the Shitamachi Museum. Here you can learn lots of useful historical information about the area, as it does indeed have a rich history.

Be prepared during your visit to encounter a few stray cats as well, as this is a common cultural feature of the area.

Several Tall Buildings in Tokyo

Tokyo Tower:
The Tokyo Tower affords excellent views of the bay. This used to be the tallest 構造 (こうぞう) or “structure” in Tokyo, before the Tokyo Sky Tree surpassed it in the year 2012. The Tokyo Tower actually serves as an antenna for broadcasting. Inside the tower, visitors are provided not only with spectacular views, but a cafe and shopping opportunity!

Tsukiji Fish Market:
The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as the Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the largest seafood markets in the world. Here you can buy a variety of freshly caught seafood as well as other items you may want to have in the kitchen. You can also enjoy fresh sushi and other seafood dishes during your visit here, up until early afternoon.

Ryogoku:
Here you can visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum as well as the renowned National Sumo Stadium. In fact, Ryogoku is well-
known for its sumo theme, including restaurants that serve the foods sumo wrestlers would eat.

Ueno:
Ueno is home to a large park with several art museums and other cultural venues that are sure to please. The Ueno Station serves places north of Tokyo, which is a large commute spot. Also on our list of recommendations for Ueno are the Ueno Park, Ueno Zoo (where you can see Pandas), and its major national museums. In spring, Ueno Park and adjacent Shinobazu Pond are prime places to view cherry blossoms.

3. Hokkaido

Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost main island, and it’s a dream come true for anyone who loves the outdoors. Here, you’ll find skiers in the winter and, when it warms up, hikers! Hokkaido is certainly another popular travel destination.

Things to Do

Daisetsuzan:
Daisetsuzan is Hokkaido’s largest national park. Hikers and other outdoor lovers should definitely not pass up this opportunity to explore nature. Deer and brown bears can also be seen roaming around here. In comparison to many of the other Japan destinations on this list, this is definitely a breath of fresh air for the nature lover!

Furano:
Furano is known for its pleasant and picturesque rural landscapes. In July and August, lavender fields bloom into a landscape indescribable by word, and in winter, the region turns into a ski resort. Another fantastic getaway for the nature lover and explorer at heart!

Overview of City

Hakodate:
Hakodate is one of Japan’s oldest harbor cities, and hosts nice hotels to ensure you have a comfortable visit. During your stay, you can enjoy delectable fresh seafood meals as well as some of the loveliest views from Mount Hakodate.

Noboribetsu:
Noboribetsu, a very reputable hot spring resort, is a must-experience location during your visit to Japan. At Jigokudani or “Hell Valley,” one can view (and smell) sulfurous steam vents, streams, and ponds. With demon statues to admire, costume parades, showdown performances, and, of course, delectable Japanese food, this is a place full of excitement!

Clock Tower Surrounded by Flowers

Sapporo:
Sapporo, Japan’s fifth largest city, is the place to go if you want some good food and a refreshing Japanese beer! Especially well-known is its ramen. Not to be missed is its annual Snow Festival, where you can not only sled and play in the snow, but enjoy snow- and ice-related art including ice sculptures!

Shiretoko National Park:
Shiretoko is one of Japan’s most beautiful and unspoiled national parks. Kamuiwakka Falls is one of Japan’s ultimate hot spring experiences.

Perhaps Shiretokogoko is the attraction most thought of when it comes to Shiretoko. It is known from the “God made five lakes from his five fingers” folklore. The lake, which is surrounded by virgin forest and praised for its clear water, reflects the Shiretoko Mountain Range on its surface. Many people make their way here in order to catch a glimpse of this fantastic scene, especially in fall. The mountains all turn autumnal at the same time, making it possible to enjoy a scene that’s “more like a picture than a picture.”

4. Osaka

Osaka is the historical commercial capital of Japan, and is renown for its unique culture! It’s also the third largest city in Japan with a population of 2.7 million.

Things to Do

Minami:
Minami (”South”) is one of Osaka’s two major city centers. The other one is Kita (”North”) around Osaka and Umeda Stations. The South (Minami) is Osaka’s most popular entertainment and shopping district and includes:

  • Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade
  • Amerikamura (”America Village”)
  • Nipponbashi Den-Den Town (shopping area for discount electronics)
  • Doguyasuji (shopping area for non edible restaurant supplies)
  • Dotonbori (the entertainment district)

Lovely Building and Garden

Osaka Castle:
In 1583, the construction of this castle began. Thirteen years prior to its construction, the building which stood here was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga. Essentially, this castle was designed in hopes of unification in Japan.

Today, the Osaka Castle is known for the views it offers, as well as educational holograms about its history.

Brightly Lit Portion of City

Shinsekai:
Called “New World” in English, Shinesekai is located south of Osaka’s downtown or “Minami.” Tsutenkaku Tower (“Tower reaching heaven”) lies at the center, and it’s renown for its kushi-katsu, which is various kinds of meat, fish, and vegetables all breaded and deep-fried on small sticks.

5. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain at 3776 meters (12,388.5 feet). This dormant volcano last erupted in the year 1708. It can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama on clear days.

Things to Do

Climbing Mount Fuji:
This can make for lifelong memories. When the skies are clear, you’re assured some wonderful views. You’re sure to never forget the climb, especially in the early morning.

Mt. Fuji with Cherry Blossom Trees in Front

The Fuji Five Lake region (Fujigoko):
This is located in the mountainous Yamanashi Prefecture at the base of Mount Fuji. It’s one of the best places to view Mount Fuji and allows easy access for climbing the mountain (August only).

Hakone:
Located within 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) of Tokyo, Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Renown for its hot springs and the spectacular view of Mt. Fuji, Hakone is a favorite of locals and international tourists alike.

Hot Springs

Conclusion

As you can see, Japan is rich in fascinating and beautiful places. With these destinations in mind, your upcoming trip to Japan is sure to be a wonderful experience—and we don’t blame you if you want to visit again and again!

To learn more about Japanese culture and the language before you take that big step of visiting the country, visit us at JapanesePod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts like this one, free vocabulary lists, and even an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow Japanese learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program with a Premium Plus account if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning approach with your own personal Japanese teacher!

Which of these destinations is your favorite? Do you plan on visiting one (or more) of them? Let us know in the comments!

October in Japan: The Weather, What to Wear, and What to Do

Are you planning to visit Japan in October? The very hot summer and typhoon season ends in September, and October is a great season for traveling to Japan with the perfect weather and beautiful attractions.

October is also a harvest season and there are many delicious foods to be enjoyed at harvest festivals all over Japan. Wondering where to see autumn colors in Japan? In northern areas such as the Hokkaido and Tohoku area, mountains start to turn red and yellow, the result of the beautiful autumn leaves.

In this article, JapanesePod101 introduces fun events and what to see on your trip to Japan in October. We’ll help you enjoy your trip with our culture and language learning materials! Here you’ll find everything you need to know about visiting Japan in autumn: things to bring to Japan in autumn, when to go hiking in Japan, and even about its fall festivals.

1. Holidays in October

There’s a holiday called Sports Day or 体育の日(Taiiku no Hi) in October. It’s on the second Monday of the month, and is a memorial day for the Tokyo Olympic Games held in 1964, which was the first Olympic Games in Asia. Many sports events are held on this day.

Since this holiday is one of the Happy Monday System holidays, and becomes a three-day holiday with the weekend, many people choose to celebrate by going on small trips. Hotels tend to be crowded and airplane tickets more expensive. Be sure to plan ahead of time if you want to travel to Japan during this three-day holiday.

If you need more information on Sports Day or are interested in Japanese holidays, please check out our “Guide of Japanese National Holidays in 2018: How to Celebrate?”

2. Japan Weather in October

Japan Weather in October

1- Sunset Time in Japan During October

The days start to get shorter in October. The sunset time is usually around five o’clock pm. This said, take note that daytime in Hokkaido is a little shorter than it is in other areas.

2- Weather and Temperature

October is a great season for traveling. The hot season has ended and, usually, temperatures become mild and pleasant. Also, the typhoon season starts coming to a close in September, and there are fewer rainy days in October. In particular, daytime temperatures and the temperatures of southern areas are nice.

However, you need to be careful about the weather and temperatures in October, because sometimes it’s unpredictable. It depends on the year and areas, where sometimes it gets cold and other times it gets very hot.

In October, the temperature difference between the north and south is quite extreme. Sometimes it snows in the northern areas of Hokkaido. In 2016, there was first snow in Asahikawa, the northern city in Hokkaido, in October and it remained without melting until next spring. So if you’re planning on going to Hokkaido, you need to be ready for snow. On the other hand, in southern areas such as Okinawa, it tends to be hot during the daytime.

You also need to be aware of temperature differences in daytime and nighttime. At nighttime, it tends to be cool—so be prepared for it to get a little chilly during your nightly strolls.

3- Weather in Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Okinawa

Here, let’s look at the weather and temperatures in each area.

Sapporo, Hokkaido Weather in October

The summer is completely gone and ready for winter in Sapporo. The temperatures get colder day by day and the average temperatures fall down to 9.7°C (49.5°F) at the end of October. Further, the end of October usually holds the first snow. However, on sunny days, you can still enjoy sightseeing and activities.

  • Average temperature:11.8°C (53.2°F)
  • Highest temperature:16.2°C (61.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:7.5°C (45.5°F)

Tokyo Weather in October

The summer is gone but it’s still hot on sunny days. Sometimes, it might feel as though summer is really just dragging on. On the other hand, it’s cool in the morning and at night. You need to be ready for those differences in temperature when visiting Tokyo in October.

  • Average temperature:19.2°C (66.6°F)
  • Highest temperature:23.0°C (73.4°F)
  • Minimum temperature:16.1°C (61.0°F)

Tokyo Weather In October

Kyoto Weather in October

The city of Kyoto is in a basin and the temperature difference between day and night is extreme. In early October, it sometimes gets higher than 30.0°C (86.0°F) during the day, but goes down to around 10.0°C (50.0°F) during the night. In particular, you need to be careful about the minimum temperatures at the end of October. It usually gets down to around 5.0°C (41.0°F), and it gets colder than in Tokyo.

  • Average temperature:17.8°C (64.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:22.9°C (73.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:13.6°C (56.5°F)

Hakata, Fukuoka Weather in October

On a sunny day it’s warm, but there are also cool days in October. The difference between the highest temperature and the minimum temperature is extreme. You need to be ready for both summer weather and cool fall weather.

  • Average temperature:18.9°C (66.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:29.2°C (84.6°F)
  • Minimum temperature:11.3°C (52.3°F)

Naha, Okinawa Weather in October

Okinawa is still hot in October and the weather is like early summer. Especially in the daytime, when it usually gets to nearly 30.0°C (86.0°F) . Okinawa especially has strong typhoon influence in summer, but it usually ends by September. There are less rainy days in October, making it the perfect weather for sightseeing.

  • Average temperature:25.2°C (77.4°F)
  • Highest temperature:27.9°C (82.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:23.1°C (73.6°F)

4- What to Wear?

Full-length pants are recommended since they’re flexible and can be worn no matter the weather you encounter. For upper clothes, wear layers so that you’ll be ready for both warm and cold weather. In some places such as the Kyoto, Tohoku area and Hokkaido area, you might want to bring winter coats with you. Japan in autumn can certainly bring a mix of weather conditions!

3. Seasonal Foods

Seasonal Foods

Since October is the harvest season, there are many kinds of seasonal foods. Here are some examples of seasonal food you should try in October.

  • ぶどう (budō) or grapes
  • 栗 (kuri) or chestnut
  • 柿 (kaki) or persimmon
  • かぼちゃ (kabocha) or pumpkin
  • かつお (katsuo) or bonitos
  • さんま (sanma) or saury
  • さば (saba) or mackerel
  • 松茸 (matsutake) or matsutake mushroom

During the harvest season of chestnuts and grapes, there are some farms that offer chestnut gathering and grape collecting. These are fun activities, especially recommended if you’re with your friends or family.

4. Events and What to See

1- Food Festivals

Food Festivals

Food festivals are one of the most prominent and delicious types of October activities in Japan. October is harvest season, so it’s a great season for eating. There’s a popular Japanese phrase “Autumn’s Appetite” or 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki).

Many food festivals are held throughout Japan to celebrate the new harvest. There are many kinds of food festivals. For example, Ramen Show is one of the most popular food festivals. There are also beer festivals, oyster festivals, BBQ festivals, and so on.

Octoberfest

Also, Oktoberfest, originally held in Germany, is becoming popular in Japan. If you’re a great beer drinker, Oktoberfest is a perfect event for you. You can enjoy drinking German beer with delicious German food such as sausages. There’s a big Oktoberfest held in Sapporo, which is a sister city of Munich, Germany, where the biggest Oktoberfest in Germany is held.

Hokkaido Food Festival in Tokyo

Hokkaido Food Festival In Tokyo

Although there aren’t many farms in Tokyo, many fresh and delicious foods are brought together here from all over Japan, and various food events are held in Tokyo.

One of the most popular food events in October is Hokkaido Food Festivals in Yoyogi Park. There are about 100 food stalls and about 400-thousand people visit each year. You can enjoy various Hokkaido foods, such as ramen noodles, fresh seafood, fresh vegetables, and meat. You can also try local craft beer, too. It’s usually held for four days, and in 2018 it’ll be from October 5 to 8.

2- Autumn Leaves

Autum Leaves

In October, trees start to turn red and yellow in northern areas such as Hokkaido and Tohoku. Since more than 70% of Japan’s land is mountains, autumn leaves are quite a special autumn feature.

The view is beautiful and amazing. We recommend going to see autumn leaves, especially if you don’t have autumn leaves around where you live. The peak season of each area is very short, so the more popular spots tend to be very crowded. Some mountains have only one or two roads leading to viewing sites, so it might be better to visit on a weekday if it’s possible.

Here’s a list of some of the best places to see fall colors in Japan:

  • 定山渓 (Jōzankei) in Hokkaido
  • 洞爺湖 (Tōyako) or Toya Lake in Hokkaido
  • 弘前公園 (Hirosaki kōen) or Hirosaki Park in Aomori
  • 抱返り渓谷 (Dakikaeri keikoku) in Akita

Toya Lake is a famous hot spring spot and you can also enjoy fireworks every night here around the end of October.

In Kanto areas, including Tokyo and south of the Kanto area, the peak of autumn leaves is in November. However, you still have a chance to see these color-changing beauties in more mountainous areas. For example, the peak season of 日光ひろは坂 (Nikkō hirohaa zaka) in Tochigi is around the middle of October.

3- Unique Autumn Festivals

Some of the most exciting events in October are autumn festivals. Many unique autumn festivals are held throughout Japan. At these festivals, you can see Japanese traditions such as dances and sports. If you use SNS and want to take unique photos of Japan, these festivals are great photo opportunities.

Here are some recommended festivals in October.

Kawagoe Festival or 川越祭 (Kawagoe Matsuri)

Kawagoe Festival

Third weekend in October
Kawagoe-shi, Saitama

The Kawagoe Festival is an annual festival of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. It’s registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The most attractive event of the festival is 曳っかわせ(hikkawase). People draw magnificent floats or 山車 (dashi) face each other and compete for traditional 囃子 (hayashi) dance, flute, and voice performances. Kawagoe is just outside of Tokyo, so if you visit Tokyo on this day, the festival might be one of the most exciting options for you. The hon-matsuri, which means “full festival” is held only once every two years.

Kurama Fire Festival or 鞍馬の火祭 (Kurama no Himatsuri)

Kurama Fire Festival

October 22
Kurama, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

The Krama Fire Festivals is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto. This festival is held to honor Yuki Shrine in Kurama Village. This is a very old festival which originated in the 10th century during the Heian period. Hundreds of people with flaming torches illuminate the mountain of Kurama and parade with 神輿 (mikoshi) or a portable shrine. The largest torches are as heavy as 100 kilograms or 220 pounds. It’s a very dynamic and exciting festival.

Nagasaki Kunchi or 長崎くんち (Nagasaki Kunchi) in Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi

October 7 to October 9
Suwa-Jinja Shrine, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi is an annual festival of Suwa Shrine and is also registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. It’s an old festival with a history of about 400 years. In the period of national isolation in the Edo era, the port of Nagasaki was a trading hub. Therefore, Nagasaki has a unique culture influenced by Portuguese, Dutch, and Chinese. During this festival, people draw colorfully painted festival cars and perform music and dances. There are also Chinese-influenced dragon dances and western-style ship-shaped festival cars.

Halloween on October 31

The celebration of Halloween is relatively new in Japan and it has become bigger and bigger over the past two decades. However, Japanese Halloween isn’t like a traditional Halloween party in western culture, and trick-or-treating isn’t popular in Japan.

Halloween is more like a big cosplay party, and for many Japanese people, it’s a chance to wear unique costumes once a year. People dress up and go to parades held in the city or events held at nightclubs or theme parks. The downtown areas of big cities become crowded with costumed people. The biggest Halloween parade is held in Shibuya, Tokyo.

There are people wearing horrible costumes, such as witches, ghosts, and zombies. However, for Japanese people, the meaning of Halloween isn’t very important and many people wear fun costumes instead, such as characters of comics or animes. So if you enjoy Japanese animes, we’re going to bet that you’ll really enjoy the Japanese Halloween celebration.

5. Conclusion

October is a great season for traveling to Japan. There are many fun and unique festivals, both traditional and modern. When you plan for your trip to Japan in October, don’t forget to check the dates of those festivals.

You need to be prepared for temperature differences and wear layers in October. In many areas, it’s warm and pleasant weather during the day. So enjoy beautiful autumn leaves, delicious seasonal foods, and fun festivals in October!

Conquering the Unknown with JapanesePod101

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When I decided that I was going to spend the summer before my final year of college abroad in Japan, I knew that I had to prepare for a trip unlike anything else that I had ever experienced in my lifetime. I knew absolutely nothing about the culture or the language and I was going with two of my buddies from school (both of whom spoke Japanese) so I needed to get ahead before we arrived. JapanesePod101 helped me do just that.

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I'm in the middle

However fun it may be to throw yourself into the unknown, it is always nice (and sometimes necessary) to have a little guidance. So here are my tips for optimizing the learning experience on a trip like this:

Go with or meet someone that knows the language

This person will be like your adviser. It is also very helpful to travel around with a person who knows the language because you can ask them questions about words and phrases that you hear during daily life and jot them down to study later. Which brings me to my next tip…

Carry a notepad

This is essential for learning a language because of all the things you will hear from just walking around and talking to people. The notepad will help you by giving you a point of reference to go back to and study, or look up with JapanesePod101, when you learn something new on your daily adventures. Which brings me to my final and most important tip…

Use JapanesePod101!

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Why Learn Japanese?

You can also learn about phrases for certain situations and events with the key phrases and vocabulary lists. Both included in the free lifetime account, the key phrases list covers all the basic phrases you will need to know as a beginner and the vocabulary list has all sorts of different phrases grouped together for different events and occasions. Including my favorite:


Top 10 Must-Know Survival Words & Phrases For Your Next Trip To Japan

If you are planning a trip to Japan and need help learning the language, I would 100% recommend that you use JapanesePod101. It has tools for all different levels of learning Japanese, so no matter where you are in the learning process, you can use it to help further your knowledge.

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